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Eating Healthy When Eating Out

May 10th, 2022

Eating healthy when eating out – is it possible? yes!

It’s such a treat to eat out, but more difficult if you have high blood pressure, watching your sodium intake, trying to lose weight and looking for lower calorie foods, or if you have food allergies and need to avoid triggers/intolerances.

Here are some tips to help you out!

Nutritional Information Available

Look at the nutritional information of the restaurant ahead of time. Most restaurants will post the information online or in store for customers to view.

Here is an example: a famous restaurant chain posts the nutritional information online, where you can learn that an ‘innocent lettuce wraps’ has over 2000mg sodium! That is already 500mg over what Health Canada recommends we consume in a whole day!

When looking at the same menu, you can see that a lower sodium choice could be a 7-ounce sirloin steak with a side salad and baked potato.

This kind of information may help you make better choices on what your treat will be!

Watch the Calories!

What about someone trying to lose weight – what to choose and where?

It is all about the dressings/sauces/breading! Having chicken strips and fries could easily top your daily caloric limit for the day; but having a grilled chicken breast on a salad, dressing on the side, and a small baked potato would be 1/6th of the calories and still a delicious balanced meal.

Looks healthy, but you can certainly make even healthier choices

What about Sushi? All looks fresh and healthy! Here are a few things to watch out:  the soy sauce is very high in sodium and the batter has the calories/fat. 

Since fat has 9 calories per gram, this is what you really should look at when eating out in restaurants. Having edamame, salmon or tuna sashimi (with low sodium soy sauce) and a side salad can be a delicious and healthy choice! 

Another tip to remember! Most restaurants will cater to customers’ needs within their limits. For example, if you want a plate of steamed veggies, they will most likely be able to do that for you; but it may add a couple extra dollars to the bill.

Delicious Sauces! With moderation…

What about Indian restaurants? Be careful of the sauces! Tandoori fish or chicken is a lean healthy choice, but when you get into the butter chicken and other rich sauces, it is going to be a lot higher in calories and sodium.

Is Juicing Healthy?

Seems a great healthy and fresh choice – juicing bars! Fresh fruits and vegetables are the highest in vitamins and minerals of any food; full of antioxidants and fiber. However, when we juice them, we consume a lot more than we would eat. You likely would not eat more than two oranges in a sitting, but a cup of fresh squeezed orange juice can pack in as much sugar and calories 15 oranges!

For a healthier choice, stick to more veggies in your juices, and less fruit.

For example, instead of a smoothie with banana, peanut butter, pineapple, milk and ice cream  (650 calories), how about the choosing one with berries, coconut water, apple and green basil for only 190 calories!

Tips to Remember!

It has not to say you have to watch every morsel of food when eating out, but it is good to have an idea of what are some better options if it is something you are doing regularly.

Watch your portions! You may eat a bit of everything, as long as you keep a balanced meal that is aligned to your healthy eating goals.

Don’t forget! If you have high blood pressure or wanting to lose weight, food/nutrition is only one part of the equation.

The rest is exercise! Moving your body will help almost every chronic health condition. If you are not sure what the best plan is, talk to one of our personal trainers to help you get moving in the best way for your body/condition.

Need Help With Meal Planning?

Legacies offers dietitian consultations via telehealth. Our registered Dietitian Nilou can help you find and keep the path to healthy eating habits. Learn more about out Dietitian Services

Nilou completed her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from UBC. She is registered Dietitian with 19 years’ experience, and is passionate about helping people with digestive and other chronic health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and weight management that can impact one’s life.